Black History Month 2023

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Here is the program across the university, staff and student-led:

3 October 2023 – Black History Month Launch, 12:45pm on Teams

3 October 2023 – Black History Month Trivia Night, African Caribbean Society event, 8,30pm (details here)

10 October 2023 – Public Talk and Book Launch DIE STANDING with Elmer Dixon, Black Panther and Consultant, Senate Room, Lanyon Building, 5:30pm

12 October 2023 – Networking for Underrepresented Groups in STEM. African Caribbean Society with the Women in STEM Society (see ACS Instagram for more details)

18 October, Student-Organised Roundtable, at the Graduate School, Room TR7, 5,00-7,00pm

19 October 2023, Belfast Film Premiere: “On Resistance Street” Queen’s Film Theatre, 6:15pm

25 October – Mock United Nations and BHM night, with Africa House NI (see ACS Instagram for more details).

27 October – Closing BHM event (sponsored by iRISE)

                                 Queen’s Film Theatre BHM program ’23:

9 Oct, 8.30pm, “Queen & Slim”
Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as a couple on their first date who become fugitives after an altercation with the police. Free posters designed by Brazilian illustrator Daniel Batista for each attendee.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/Queen-and-Slim

12 Oct, 8.45pm, “Omen”
A deserving winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard New Vision Award, rapper-turned-filmmaker Baloji’s magical realist drama is a dazzling debut.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/Omen

13-15 Oct, “Bobi Wine: The People’s President
From the slums of Kampala to the national political arena, this gripping film charts the rise of Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine – the pop star-turned-politician seeking to end Uganda’s brutal dictatorship.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/Bobi-Wine

14 Oct, 3.15pm, “Claudine
In an attempt to counter the far-fetched excesses of the blaxploitation films at the time, Claudine focuses on the day to day struggles of a single black mother and her working class family.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/Claudine

17-19 Oct, “Once Upon a Time in Uganda
Set in the heart of Uganda, Once Upon a Time in Uganda celebrates a universal love and passion for movies through the story of the world-famous Wakaliwood studios.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/Once-Upon-a-Time-in-Uganda

19 Oct, 6.15pm, “On Resistance Street + Q&A”
With contributions from a host of renowned musicians, bands and commentators, On Resistance Street is an in-depth examination of the role music plays in the fight against fascism, racism and bigotry.
https://queensfilmtheatre.com/Whats-On/On-Resistance-Street

 The library is offering a trial of ProQuest Black Studies during the whole month (here)  

Some other events are still being organised and will be listed as they are confirmed. 

CFP: Conference on Africa in Ireland: Historical & Theoretical Perspectives 

Queen’s University Belfast, 28-29 April 2023

The International Consortium for the Study of Africans in Ireland(ICSAI) invites submissions of papers for an interdisciplinary conference on Africa in Ireland: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives

Conference program

The Gown (Belfast), 5 December 1958, p.7

This conference aims to address the historical presence of Africans and the Black diaspora in the past, present, and future on the island of Ireland. It will critically engage with this presence and the convergences of Irish-African cultural, political and religious relationships and connections. How does the presence of African-descended people in Ireland disrupt the notion of Irish monoraciality? How should we theoretically address issues of race in the defining of Irish national identity in light of historical and contemporary Black Irish identities? What is the nature of the relationship between Africa and the African Diaspora in Ireland? What remains of Ireland’s soft religious colonialism and the mission project? How did Ireland’s postcoloniality align with pre- and post-independence subjugated African nations?

Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, North and South, offers great possibilities to study the “complex, variegated, transitional nature of contemporary Irish experience.” [1] However, whiteness is still the vector through which Irishness is determined. In Ireland, which Luke Gibbons so memorably called “a First World country, but with a Third World memory,” [2] the African and Black diaspora are confronted by an essentialist discourse of impassable racial demarcation. Though Ireland has never been monocultural, its predominant monoraciality ensures that Irishness is interpellated as white. The existence of whiteness is, as Connolly & Khaoury have argued, the “constitutive and founding elements [3] of Irishness, and this Irishness is “ethno-racially rigid” [4].

An additional way to explore and explode the monoraciality of Irish society is through history. Very few studies have looked at the presence of Africans and people of mixed heritage in Ireland, the common street view being that this is a phenomenon connected to the Celtic Tiger and/or post-conflict Northern Ireland, and in good part linked to the refugee question. There is little awareness that Ireland was never wholly white. While a few studies have looked at that past, much work remains to be done, a diachronic understanding and chronology need to be established, and implications need to be explored.

It is important to hear African and African-descent voices in this critical examination. In the study of Ireland’s Black identities and diaspora, as is the case in the rest of Europe, it is necessary to make explicit the authentic and historical specificities of their experiences since they serve to elucidate “global entanglements and trends by tracing the ways in which they are worked out at the personal and local level.” [5]

We are particularly interested in papers that interrogate the following topics within, or in relation to, the framework of the conference theme:

  • Black Irish Studies
  • Africa in Ireland
  • The relationship between Africa and the African Diaspora in Ireland
  • Ireland’s soft religious colonialism and the mission project
  • Ireland’s postcoloniality and alignment with pre- and post-colonial African nations
  • Notions of Blackness and Africanness
  • Irishness and Afro-Europeanism
  • History of African migrations to Ireland pre- and post- Celtic Tiger
  • The interaction of categories like nation, gender, class, and religion within the category of Africans in Ireland
  • How Black Irish have conceived themselves historically
  • Africans in Irish Studies within the larger field of Black Diasporic Culture/Diaspora Studies
  • Negotiating Black Consciousness in Ireland
  • Black Cultural Production on the island of Ireland
  • The relationships of the Black Irish to other ethnic minorities on the island
  • African students in Ireland
  • Centring Africa as a decolonised subject for investigation in the Irish curriculum

Please send your abstract of 300 words and a short biographical note to Dr Mark Doyle (mdoyle@mtsu.edu ) by 1 February 2023.

For general conference inquiries, contact Dr Nik Ribianszky (n.ribianszky@qub.ac.uk) or Dr Eric Morier-Genoud (e.morier-genoud@qub.ac.uk). 

Conference Committee:
Dr. Mark Doyle, Middle Tennessee State University
Dr. Eric Morier-Genoud, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr. Phil Mullen, Trinity College Dublin
Dr. Nik Ribianszky, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr. Jonathan Wright, Maynooth University

[1] Brown, Terence. 1985. Ireland. A social and cultural history 1922-1985. London: Fontana Press, p. 322.[2] Gibbons, Luke. 1996. Transformations in Irish Culture. Cork: Cork University Press, p. 3.[3] Connolly, P., & Khaoury, R. 2008. Whiteness, Racism and Exclusion: A Critical Race Perspective. In C. Coulter & M. Murray (Eds.), Northern Ireland After the Troubles: A Society in Transition. Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 208.[4] Lentin, R, & Moreo, E. 2015. Migrant deportability: Israel and Ireland as case studies. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 386, 884–910.[5] Aitken, Robbie, & Rosenhaft, Eve. 2013. Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Diaspora Community, 1884-1960. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, p. 3This conference is supported by the School of HAPP, the Institute of Irish Studies, iRISE and the Diversity and Inclusion Unit at Queen’s University Belfast.

“Black Children of Ulster”

Annie YELLOWE passed away on 3 December 2022. Author of the memoirs For the love of a Mother. The Black Children of Ulster, Annie took part in the 2017 in the workshop organised at Queen’s University about “The History of Africans in NI“.

Alongisde Tim Brannigan, Annie contributed to a Rountable about Black Children of Ulster (panel named after her book). A rich and stimulating discussion, followed by a nice dinner at Molly’s Yard.

RIP Annie.

African staff and PhD students in 2022

Left to right: Dr David Nyaluke (Fellow, UCDublin); Dami Osekita (PhD student, SSESW), Gift Sotonye-Frank (PhD student, Law), Dr Felicity Kalu (Lecturer, Nursing & Midwifery, Nkem Itanyi (PhD student, Law), Dr Linda Oyama (Lecturer, Biological Sciences), Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi (Reader, SSESW), Dr Chirangano Mangwandi (Lecturer, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering) — all members of the QUB African Scholars Research Network.

Ireland and Missions

THURSDAY 12 September 2019

1,00pm. Welcome & Introduction

1,30pm Opening lecture I .
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Andrew Holmes, “‘Where have the Protestants gone?’ The Irish Protestant missionary experience, 1790-1914.”

2.00pm – Panel One “Green and Orange”
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Matteo Binasco, “Whenever Green is Worn: The Holy See and Irish Catholic Missionary Movement in the Nineteenth Century.” 
Declan O’Doherty & Aglaia de Angeli, “From novice in Newchwang to Minister in Manchuria. A discussion of the early experiences of the Presbyterian missionary Rev. Alexander Crawford in Manchuria, 1895-1913.”
Alannah Jeune, “Complexities of identity: Juvenile Mission literature in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland”

4.00pm – Opening lecture II .
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Colin Barr,“The Children of the Household’: Irish Catholic Missionaries and Indigenous Populations in the Settler Empire, 1815-1914.”

4,30pm Reception  


FRIDAY 13 September 2019

9,30am – Panel Two “Great Works…”
—————————————————–
Jamelyn B. Palattao, “James A. Greig of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland (PCI): Mission, Humanitarianism and Diplomacy in China.”
Eric Morier-Genoud, “Donal Lamont. A (northern) Irish Bishop in Africa?”  
Barry Sheppard, “‘The great cannot exist without the small; nor the small without the great.’ Catholic Action in Ireland and Abroad 1932-49.”

11-12,30 – Panel Three “Home and Abroad”
———————————————————–
Sarah Roddy, “Temporary missionaries: or, how the ‘spiritual empire’ changed Catholic Ireland” 
Stuart Mathieson, “Irish Missions, Science, and Scripture in the Holy Land” 
Fiona Bateman, “Echoes of Irish history in Eastern Nigeria: Cultural loss and conflict”

12,30 Lunch

2, 00-3,30 – Penal Four “Exhibition, Text and Photographs”
——————————————————————————
Denis Linehan, “‘A Stuffed Gold Coast Monkey’: Exhibiting Irish-Africa in the Missionary Exhibitions in 20th Century Ireland.” 
Justin Livingstone, “Writing Mission: Empire, Decolonisation and the Qua Iboe” 
Fiona Loughnan, “The Album and the Archive: Migratory Photo-Objects and Irish Spiritan Missions in Kenya”

4,00pm Concluding remarks  

Full Programme – download here

Mary Ekpiken

First female African student at QUB

Born in Assang Eniong, Cross Rivers State, Nigeria, Mary Ekpiken arrived in Belfast in 1953. She came to study economics with a Nigerian government grant. She resided at Riddel Hall until she graduated in 1955.

After Queen’s, Mary returned to Africa to work for the Nigerian Civil Service. In 1965, she was Senior Labour Officer within the Employment Division of the Federal Ministry of Labour in Lagos.

She continued in the Ministry until she retired on 18 May 1984 as a director in the ministry. She was the first woman to reach such position in Nigeria and was awarded a Nigeria National Honour (OFR).

She passed away in 2010, leaving behind an adult son, Tunji Roberts, who is a media entrepreneur in the United State. Tunjo visited Belfast on his mother’s traces in November 2012, and saw the small dossier the QUB archives hold of her mother.    

Prof. Martin Lynn

Chair of African History

Martin Lynn was born in 1951 in Nigeria. He studied at King’s College London and SOAS. After a stint at the University of Ilorin, he was recruited at Queen’s in 1980. He taught there British and Imperial history and, with time, African and Chinese history. He was the first to teach a course on African history at Queen’s.

His area of academic interest was the economic history of West Africa. His first monograph was Commerce and Economic Change in West Africa: the Palm Oil Trade in the 19th century (Cambridge University Press, 1997). The book was very well received and it established Lynn in the field at once. He published extensively on cognate subjects as well, in the very best journals of his field (Journal of African History, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, African Economic History, etc. – see a full bibliography here). In 2001, he edited two volumes of the famed British Documents on End of Empire Project on Nigeria (Part I: Managing Political Reform. 1943-53, cix 643 pp.; Part II: Moving to Independence. 1953-60).

Martin Lynn was promoted to a professorship in African History in 2002, after more than 20 years in Belfast. He thus became the first (and so far the only) chair of African history in Ireland. He remained modest and dedicated to his teaching nonetheless, something he was much appreciated, if not envied for. Prof. Richard Rathbone recently remembered Martin Lynn for his “collegiality, his kindness, his unnecessary modesty, [and] his personal and scholarly integrity”. Professor Martin Lynn passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2005. The second African Studies in Ireland Network colloquium was dedicated to his memory.